The global financial crisis has driven down the price of tropical islands in Australia, creating big bargains for would-be Robinson Crusoes seeking a coral-fringed paradise retreat.
Richard Vanhoff, a realtor in the northeastern state of Queensland who has about 10 islands on his books, most located near the famed Great Barrier Reef, said Thursday that prices have dropped as the recession bites.
Advertisement"The initial asking price on some islands was a bit high and they've now come in lower and are a lot more reasonable that what (sellers) were asking initially," he told AFP.
"Some were asking six million dollars (4.2 million US) initially, when their island was certainly worth in the millions, but definitely not six."
One of the properties Vanhoff's Coldwell Banker Capricorn Coast estate agency is marketing is Turtle Island, which he said Hollywood star Julia Roberts missed out on buying eight years ago.
She may want to renew her interest as Vanhoff said the island -- complete with mansion, helipad and in-ground swimming pool -- was now available for "any reasonable offer" down from an initial asking price of 6.75 million dollars.
Vanhoff's website described it as "fit for a movie star or reclusive celebrity," with a huge larder capable of holding months' worth of provisions.
Or there is Long Island, which has had its price "seriously reduced" to 3.5 million Australian dollars after last selling for six million a few years ago.
Vanhoff said owning an island provided the ultimate Australian experience.
"Internationally, when you think about Australia, there's a number of things that come to mind -- beaches, islands, reefs and kangaroos," he said.
"That's what we're offering."
He said clients -- who include the head of one of Australia's largest wine exporters -- were often seeking a change in lifestyle.
"(Their) whole idea is to have a family retreat and bring the kids up in an environment that's not necessarily Robinson Crusoe, but more Robinson Crusoe with a lot of luxury touches," Vanhoff said.
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